CHURCHILL, Man. — When the sun finally broke through a blizzard that lasted three days in northern Manitoba, a local leader said it looked like the moon.
Churchill, Man., was covered with 60 cm of snow over three days, prompting the town authorities to declare a local state of emergency on Friday. A person walks down a plowed street, surrounded by snow walls, in Churchill, Man., in a Saturday, March 11, 2017, handout photo.
Churchill declared a state of local emergency on Friday after about 60 centimeters had fallen since earlier in the week, driven by wind gusts of up to 120 km/h.
Deputy mayor Charles Hutchins says there were nine-metre drifts in some streets.The once-a-week train that normally delivers supplies couldn’t make it when the line was shut down, but Hutchins says the Northern store has arranged to fly goods in on Sunday.
The town has called it an “unprecedented weather event” and the emergency declaration will allow it to acquire extra resources to deal with the cleanup.
Hutchins says it’s the worst combination of snow and wind he’s seen in his 50 years in Churchill.“All that wind-driven snow is like cement,” Hutchins said Saturday. He said the landscape had a lunar appearance to it.
The blizzard that hit many of the areas of the province also left six people stranded on a highway northwest of Thompson for three days. Members of the group managed to get help by breaking into an MTS cell phone tower and using a phone.
During the blizzard, Churchill advised its residents to remain indoors for their own safety. It said access to many of its buildings was limited because of snow that was blocking entrances.VIA Rail canceled its Friday train from The Pas to Churchill, and the train from Churchill to Winnipeg on Saturday was also canceled.
“When the wind died down and the sun poked out, the store was very busy. It was like a mall in the city at Christmas,” Hutchins said, adding that the power never failed and Internet still worked.
“My kids were happy because they were shut in with Netflix,” he said.